Daily December DIYs:
31 Stay-Home Activities the Whole Family can Enjoy!
We wanted to provide some extra at-home activities in December of 2020, to help families out during the pandemic! These were originally shared to our Instagram account, @tulsakids. So, any time you’re looking to fill some winter hours with a quick and easy craft, recipe, etc., here are our suggestions! We’ve divided them into the following sections: crafts, ornaments, festive foods, games and science experiments.
1. Santa Advent Calendar
Draw Santa’s face onto a large piece of paper. (If Santa isn’t your first choice, you could also do this project by drawing an evergreen.) Number his beard with the numbers 1-25. Then, draw and decorate 25 round Christmas ornament on an additional piece of paper. Cut them out. If you want, add activity suggestions to the back. We kept ours simple: read a Christmas book, bake cookies, write cards, etc. Each day leading up to Christmas, pick an ornament and tape it to Santa’s beard!
2. Paper Snowflakes
Making your own paper snowflakes never gets old! Better yet, as long as you have paper and a pair of scissors, you’re ready to go. This tutorial from KiwiCo gives some helpful tips for how to fold your snowflake, thinking in terms of symmetry, angles, etc.
When you’re done making your snowflakes, tape them to your windows or hang them from your ceiling to create a wintry feel at home, no matter what the weather’s doing!
3. Snowman Face Changer
All you need is a square sheet of paper and some markers! Then, Google “origami face changer” for instructions on how to fold it. There are some helpful YouTube videos as well. Take the basic folding instructions, then make the design your own! We chose to do a melting snowman. You could do Santa, your own face, emojis…the options are endless!
4. Pinecone Bird Feeder
Diane Morrow-Kondos shared instructions for making a pinecone bird feeder in this blog post. All you need is a pinecone, birdseed, peanut butter and string!
5. Popsicle Stick Puzzle
Popsicle sticks are a great item to have in your craft closet. For this project, lay out 6-8 popsicle sticks (more would work too) side-by-side on a table. It may help to tape the ends down so they don’t move. Use markers or Sharpies to draw a wintry scene onto the popsicle sticks. Then, mix them up and see if someone can complete your puzzle! This could also be a fun gift to give to a younger child.
6. Foil People
Make your own foil doll! Thanks to local artist Rachel Rector for sharing this idea. Find her full tutorial here.
7. Build a Snowman
Obviously, you’ll have to wait for a snow day for this one! But, fingers crossed, there will be more than one snowman-building opportunity this year!
8. Woven Felt Coasters
Find my tutorial for making these woven felt coasters at https://www.tulsakids.com/christmas-crafts-and-other-festive-diys.
9. Felt Christmas Tree
If you don’t have room for a Christmas tree at home (ours is a tight squeeze!), here’s a fun option. Simply make one out of felt! The one pictured below is small, but with enough green felt, you could make a toddler-sized Christmas tree that can be attached to a wall. Once you have your felt tree, cut out some ornaments, presents and other decorations. Felt sticks to itself, so your kid can have fun decorating their tree over and over again!
10. Modge Podge Coasters
This is a way to reuse some of your favorite Christmas cards! Cut out images and attach them to ceramic coasters using Modge Podge.
11. Gingerbread Clay Ornament
Thanks to local artist Sarah Bowen for sharing this fun tutorial. These gingerbread clay ornaments have so much personality!
12. Wine Cork Ornaments
- Wine corks
- Acrylic paint
- Small eye screw
- Pens or Sharpies
- Decorative items such as chenille craft sticks (pipe cleaners), small sticks, google eyes, ribbon, felt, tiny pompons, etc.
To make Rudolph, no need to paint the cork — just glue on eyes and red pompon nose. Use brown pipe cleaners for antlers. Draw a smiling mouth if you want. Screw the eye screw into the top of his head and you’re done.
If you want to make a cork reindeer with a whole body, I’ve included an image of that one. Just use sticks for legs, neck and antlers.
To make a snowman or an angel, paint the cork white with acrylic paint and use your imagination to dress them up!
13. Beaded Ornaments
You will need:
- Chenille craft pipe cleaners
- Red and white beads for candy canes
- Small red beads and star-shaped green beads for Christmas wreaths
Note: make sure the beads have large enough openings for the pipe cleaners.
Wrap one end of the pipe cleaner around a bead to keep the others from coming off. For the candy cane, alternate red and white beads, leaving enough pipe cleaner at the end to create a knot to keep the beads in place. Bend into a candy cane shape.
For the wreaths, secure one end to keep beads in place. Thread several green beads and then add one red bead. When the wreath is full, bend into a circle and twist ends together. Add a bow at the top.
14. Button Tree Ornament
TulsaKids reader Jen Handsel shared this idea and photo. She’s been making these adorable button trees for 15 years. To make your own, start with a 12-inch length of craft wire. Bend it into a “u” shape. Thread buttons onto both ends of the wire, starting with the bottom buttons first. Build your tree up from there! Finally, twist the wire at the top so you can hang it from your tree.
15. Macrame Ornament
We tried making the Square Knot Mini Macrame Ornament, found at lifeisaparty.ca. This would be a great craft for older kids. You just need a stick, some yarn, and a little patience. Have fun mixing and matching colors.
16. Snow Hat Ornament
We love a good beanie, and these mini snow hat ornaments fit the bill!
- A 3/4″ ring cut from a toilet paper roll
- Lots of yarn (this tutorial recommends 14 yards per hat)
- Tissue paper
Start by cutting your yarn into 12″ strings. Attach the yarn to the toilet paper ring by folding them in half, sticking the folded end through the ring, and then pulling the loose ends through the loop. Repeat this until you’ve covered the whole ring with yarn. You shouldn’t be able to see any cardboard sticking through, so make sure the yarn loops are close together.
When your ring is covered, gather up the yarn and give it a small twist. Push it all up through the toilet paper roll. Take another length of yarn and tie it around the yarn, knotting it tightly. Trim the loose ends until it looks like a little pom pom! If you want, scrunch some tissue paper up into a ball, and poke it into the underside of your hat. This just helps it maintain its shape.
17. Christmas Tree Ribbon Ornament
This is a good way to use up some extra ribbon! Simply tie lengths of green ribbon around a straight stick. Then, cut them into a triangle shape so it looks like a tree. Tie a loop of yarn around the top of the stick so you can hang it from the tree.
In this image, I alternated green ribbon with green felt, simply because I ran out of green ribbon. However, ribbon is preferable because it holds its shape better.
18. Salt Dough Ornaments
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cups water
- cookie cutters (optional)
- baking pan
- parchment paper
- Acrylic paint
- Other decorative items such as beads, jewels, glitter, etc.
Mix dry ingredients in bowl. Add water. Don’t pour it all in at once. You may not need it all or you may need a little more. Mix with fork until dough comes together. Fold and knead the dough on a flat surface until it is throroughly mixed. If it cracks and feels too dry, add more water. If you’re using cookie cutters for shapes, roll out dough between ¼” and ½” thick (if there are a lot of cracks, you may need to knead in more water). Cut out shapes. Or create your own shapes, but remember that if dough is very thick it may not dry well. Use a straw or other utensil to make a hole at the top. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake two to three hours at 200 degrees F until firm. Let them cool and paint. Protect with a coat of varnish.
19. Shrinky Dink Ornaments
Grab some blank shrink plastic and sharpies, and design your own ornaments! Your shrink plastic should include instructions on how to bake it. Don’t forget to punch a hole in the ornament before baking so you can tie a string through it afterwards.
20. Cinnamon Ornaments
With this project, your house will smell divine AND you’ll be left with some fun Christmas decor or gifts! Find the McCormick cinnamon recipe here. All you need is plenty of cinnamon and some unsweetened applesauce.
21. Frozen Banana Penguins
Could these be any cuter? Start by peeling and cutting some bananas in half. Also, cut a few orange Reece’s pieces or M&Ms in half. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or double boiler. Dip the top and back half of each banana half into the melted chocolate. Attach candy eyes and half of an orange candy directly into the melted chocolate. Use additional melted chocolate to attach orange candy feet.
22. Cookie Mix Jars
These are a genuinely useful gift (if the recipient enjoys baking cookies!) that kids will have fun helping with. You need a 32 oz. Mason jar and a favorite Cookie Mix Jar recipe. We used this one.
23. Rice Krispies Reindeer
Make Rice Krispies Treats by melting 3 Tbsp. of butter in a large saucepan. Add 4 cups (10 oz) mini marshmallows, and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in 6 c. of Rice Krispies cereal.
Press evenly into a greased, 9″ round cake pan. Once cool, cut into triangles.
To decorate, use a bag of brown decorator frosting to attach chocolate-covered pretzels for antlers, candy eyes and a red M&M for a nose!
24. Christmas Cookies
We particularly recommend the White Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Bark from Natalie Mikles’ Christmas cookies article: https://www.tulsakids.com/baking-cookies-together-makes-holiday-magic. It’s a new favorite!
25. Mini-Bagel Ornaments
At last, a fairly healthy option! Spread whipped cream cheese onto mini bagels. Decorate with cut veggies – green onions, grape tomatoes, sweet peppers, its up to you! Finish off your “ornaments” by using a toothpick to attach a square of cucumber to the top.
26. Christmas Tree Tortilla Roll-ups
Tortilla Roll-ups are a fantastic party food. Even in 2020, when Christmas parties are canceled, they can add a festive element to your stay-home celebrations. Simply find a favorite tortilla roll up recipe (here’s one). Make sure you use a green tortilla when making your roll ups. When you’re ready to cut the roll ups, stack them into a Christmas tree shape! Decorate using sliced grape tomatoes and a piece of cheese shaped like a star!
27. Play Dreidel (And Make Your Own!)
Dreidel is a fun game for the whole family to play. Here are some instructions from myjewishlearning.com. If you don’t have your own dreidel, you can make one using thin cardboard (for example, a cereal box) and a short pencil. Cut our a circle of cardboard. Divide it into fourths, and write the Hebrew letters nun, gimel, hey and shin, each in one of the quarters. Refer to the tutorial linked above for how to write these letters. Poke a hole through the center of the circle, then stick your short, sharpened pencil through. Give it a spin!
28. Give a Gift to Baby Grinch
It’s pin the tail on the donkey with a festive twist! Draw baby Grinch on a piece of poster board, then decorate and cut out some paper presents! See who can get their present closest to baby Grinch’s hands while blindfolded.
Christmas Science Experiments
29. Festive Skittles Experiment
Little Bins for Little Hands shares this fun and festive Skittles experiment.
Arrange red and green skittles in a ring around a white ceramic plate. (Not paper.) Place a holiday-themed cookie cutter in the center of the plate. Slowly and carefully pour water into the cookie cutter. Talk with your kids about what might happen once the water reaches the candy. Be careful not to bump the plate, as this will throw off the look of the experiment.
30. Gingerbread Play Dough
- 1 c. flour
- 1/2 c. salt
- 2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 tsp-1 Tbsp. each of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves (The original recipe has exact measurements; but we were sadly out of ginger, so I just dumped some spices in, and it worked very well! Although lacking ginger, ours probably can’t properly be called Gingerbread Playdough….)
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (we had just ran out, so I used olive oil, which worked fine)
- 1 c. water
- 1 tsp. orange extract, optional (This isn’t a staple at our house, so I didn’t use it. I’m sure it would have been an aromatic addition, though!)
- Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium saucepan.
- Whisk in water, oil and orange extract, if using.
- Cook over low/medium heat until a thick dough forms.
- Remove dough into a heatproof bowl. When slightly cooled, knead until smooth. Enjoy!
31. Gingerbread Baking Powder Experiment
Why should baking soda have all the fun? This experiment, again from Little Bins for Little Hands, can open up conversations about baking and the chemical reactions that happen when you mix up a batch of cookie dough, cake, etc.
Put a gingerbread cookie cutter onto a protected baking sheet. Sprinkle an even layer of baking powder into the cookie cutter, so that it’s touching each wall of the cutter. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Give your kids an eyedropper, if you have one, and a small cup of water. Let them drip water onto the baking powder to see what happens!
Originally published Dec. 2020